The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to grip the economy. With the sudden outbreak in the spring of 2020, companies had to react quickly and make a number of key decisions in a very short period of time. On the one hand, they'd to look out for their employees and their internal organizational structures, while maintaining normal day-to-day business and customer relations. For a number of companies, this proved to be a challenging matter and it was the beginning of the end. Crises like this can occur more than once throughout a company's lifetime. In order for companies to remain operational and competitive, even in some of the most difficult times, resilience should be practiced. In this article you can find out how companies can implement resilient strategies and how they can become more prepared for unexpected future challenges.
Supporting Employees Throughout the Changes
Your team is an important asset. This is especially true in times of crisis and uncertainties. In those times, employees are bound to worry about their personal and financial future. Therefore, it's important to provide your team with confirmation and assurance. Providing your team with an open ear is an indication of good leadership. Once you and your team have adjusted to the new unexpected situation, and implemented new measures and processes when necessary, e.g. working from home, it's advised to review any training and onboarding requirements. To make sure nobody is left behind in the middle of this process change, make sure that employee empowerment and support is taking place. This will ensure collaboration and teamwork, even in times of hardship when the teams aren't all working in the same office.
Promoting Agility and Flexibility in all Areas
The larger the company, the more complex are the structures and decision-making processes. These fixed and standardized processes may indicate security in the short run, but there's no telling how things might change. This kind of attitude isn't necessarily able to adapt as well during the constantly changing circumstances. Finding the right balance between standardized, fixed processes and the amount of freedom provided in the company is key when attempting to implement an agile work environment. It should be noted that rigid hierarchies, which are common in most corporate structures, should be adjusted. In times full of uncertainties, these structures can place more hurdles and considerably slow down companies, which would lead to missing out on opportunities and chances that might not come back. Instead, it might be better to build a more agile and flexible corporate culture that can adapt and react faster to changes. It's important to note that agility is not a certificate that you can get by partaking in a course or a program, it's an attitude that one must have when working, and it start with one's approach.
Identifying New Areas of Responsibility and Seizing Growth Opportunities
If the crisis means that you can longer do business as usual, previous sales channels no longer work as expected, and you are basically wondering how things will go on, try to keep calm and try to identify the problems. Analyze the situation at hand and identify possible solutions, such as developing new digital services. Look for opportunities to take your business to the next level in all the areas that your company is facing problems in. These are issues that your competitors will be working on, so don't let the stress and uncertainty make you miss out on your chance to grow.
Rethinking Customer Relationships and Sales Channels
Perhaps you were already well positioned digitally before the pandemic started, or you were pursuing a company-wide digital strategy. In all likelihood, now is the time to develop a better and more improved digital strategy –possibly with the help of outside consultants even. Ask yourself the following questions: are your sales channels still profitable? Can you maintain relationships with customers and partners in the same quality, even if you travel less? How many business trips can be justified, factoring in the effects of the pandemic? How can you have virtual meetings, and still have the same level of effectiveness as onsite meetings? These are all questions that you and your team should be prepared to answer in order to evaluate the situation in your company better.
The Correct Mindset: Seeing Change as an Opportunity
As already described, the right mindset of the company, i.e. the corporate culture, is decisive when it comes to the resilience of a company in times of crisis. However, corporate culture must be implemented, not just exist in theory. Supervisors and employees who don't think changing their attitudes and already existing business processes in order to adapt to new circumstances can't be forced to do so. Executives who insist on strict adherence to the hierarchal structures and processes that were introduced decades ago, are unlikely to lead the next agile task force in the company that's supposed to guide it properly during a crises. However, one thing is certain in times full of uncertainties: there are always winners and losers. Decide for yourself what you'd like your company to be.
Focus on the Right Things and Reject Wasting Time
You've probably already heard that setting a clear and focused list of goals is helpful. Luckily, we live in a time that offers a large variety of technologies that can help us do that. Through digitalization and automation you can save a lot of time on accounting and controlling processes. Additionally, technological processes are extremely helpful when it comes to avoiding making unnecessary mistakes and supporting employees with tasks by reducing the amount of time required to complete them. This will enable you to better focus on tasks that are more important in times of crisis. As a responsible employer and supervisor, you should use your resources as efficiently as possible to be able to also work as effectively as possible.
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